One Beautiful Thing is the newest creation by Circa, designed in three parts, with an intermission between each. Each part is a separate design, and conceived as a new musical world. The piece draws upon and heavily features a discipline called mallakhamb, an Indian form of physical gymnastics involving pole and rope derived from myth and wrestling. Through mallakhamb and a suite of other acrobatics, movements are made and intertwined with an original score and design by Daryl Wallis, featuring acclaimed Indian pianist Utsav Lal.
Daryl travelled to India, and throughout December 2016 and January 2017 has crafted a multi-faceted score which brings the streets of India to Australia. His work on One Beautiful Thing is a combination of elements that coalesce neatly together – traditional rhythms meet Indian inspired melodies, while the score is also simultaneously sprinkled with verbatim sounds like the bustle of the streets, buzzing of technology and the chatter of people talking, playing and laughing. Even the recording of cars, moving between one ear to another, is an audio experience for the ears which immerses us into India’s rich culture.
“This section Mother Radio features a very elongated version of the ‘All India Radio’ signature song that for many years used to kick off each days broadcasting. I initially was using this texture to transition into one of my Punjabi pop songs, but I so love it I’ve featured it throughout the section. I started playing with electronic pixelation around it’s mysterious atmospheric core, but once I added some text on the nature of Divine Mother energy, the electronics now support and reveal each new spoken segment. The key phrase for the tone of the piece is “beware of the Mother, and her powers, and their workings” – Daryl Wallis, One Beautiful Thing composer, January 2017.
One Beautiful Thing’s three parts are:
Part 1: Axis (अक्ष) Axis is the self/other north/south, occident/orient, contemporary/traditional poles we revolve around. It is tensions between worlds. It is change, motion, chaos. Axis is the first step into the unknown, it reflects the meeting, the encounter, the shock. Full of dynamic acrobatics it seeks to express a poetics of disorientation and encounter.
Part 2: …of a turning world seeks the impossible ‘still point of a turning world’ (TS Eliot). Extreme stillness and movement vigorously contrast through duets and solos of esquisite detail. Utsav Lal performs a contemporary piano raga – a virtuosic encounter between classical piano and classical form creating a dramatic new musical idiom. The search here is personal, intimate and the journey is towards self.
Part 3: Aks (अक्स) Aks is the Hindi word for reflection or simulacra. In this final section, multiple images dance with their own reflections – as self and other, east and west, physical and theatrical styles strive to find balance and transcendence. Aks is a contemporary piece that pushes rhythm, bodies and pulses to the edge.